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Bangladesh - December 20, 2023

Families spend 42pc of income for food

Staff Correspondent: Nearly 42 per cent of the total monthly income of a family is spent on food on average while the second highest amount of money is spent in housing and paying different types of utility bills.
The amount of savings is very little compared to the income of a family. The amount is a mere Tk 923 (3 per cent of the total income).
This was revealed in the Household Income and Expenditure Survey (HIES)-2022, conducted by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) among 14,400 families across the country. According to the latest census report, there are 41 million families in the country.
The government’s statistics department published the HIES-2022 report recently outlining a sector-wise average household expenditure of a family.

Meeting family expenses has become a critical issue for people in the lower income and lower-middle-income brackets, especially in this time of high inflation and soaring prices of consumer goods. Many individuals are forced to cut back on certain food items to fulfill their basic nutritional needs.
Moreover, expenses for education, healthcare, and other services have witnessed a notable rise. In general, families allocate funds for necessities such as food, health, education, clothing, transportation, housing, and entertainment. Successfully managing a family while addressing all these requirements has become a challenging task.
According to the BBS survey report, the average income of a Bangladeshi family is Tk 32,422 per month, with expenditures amounting to Tk 31,500 across 13 sectors.
Discussing the survey, Mohiuddin, BBS Deputy Director and Director of the survey project, informed Prothom Alo that the rise in people’s income aligns with the country’s socio-economic development, resulting in a doubling of income within a six-year period.
Furthermore, the nature of expenses has evolved alongside the changing economic conditions. As income levels increase, the percentage of expenditure on food has decreased. Previously, over 50 per cent of income was spent on food, but this has now reduced to 42 per cent, according to his claims.
Sector-wise expenditure
According to the survey report, families, on average, allocate 42 per cent (equivalent to Tk 13,193) of their monthly income to purchase essential items such as rice, lentils, oil, onion, chili pepper, fish and meat, and milk and eggs. This category constitutes the largest sector of expenditure for families.
The second significant sector encompasses expenses related to house rent, gas, electricity, water bills, and other services. Families, on average, spend Tk 4,418, which accounts for 14 per cent of their total expenditure. However, those who own their house or flat do not incur this expense, making it appear relatively small.
Health represents the third-largest sector of expenditure in the country. A family consisting of a man and his wife, his parents, and children has an average monthly expenditure of Tk 2,115, equivalent to 6.7 per cent of the total monthly expenditure.
Additionally, families spend Tk 2,063 (6.3 per cent) each month on clothing and shoes, making it the fifth-largest sector of expenditure. Conveyance expenses amount to Tk 1,682 on average per month.
In the BBS report, education is listed as the 10th expenditure category among the 13 sectors, with families spending Tk 573 for this purpose each month.
Commenting on this, Selim Raihan, the Executive Director of the South Asian Network on Economic Modeling (SANEM), informed media that the amount mentioned by the BBS is an average, and no poor family can afford to spend that much money.
He highlighted that impoverished families allocate nearly 55-60 per cent of their income to purchase food, leaving little room for expenditures on education, health, and entertainment.
Selim Raihan emphasised the need to enhance opportunities for increasing the income of the poor. He also noted that the economic pressure on running households has been impacting the middle class as well, especially due to inflation over the past year.

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